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Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Arsenic Hour

Between the nap and the twilight
When blood sugar is becoming lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Arsenic Hour.
   -Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons,  The Mother's Almanac 1, 1975

Although the above "poem" is a play on "The Children's Hour" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  the sentiment is real.  For some reason, the hours between approximately 4 pm and 7 pm are usually the hardest time of day for both parents and children.  Kids are hungry, cranky and restless and parents are ...well, hungry, cranky and restless. 

So, what's a mom to do?  Feed the cranky kids a good, healthy snack.  Find an outlet for their energy (physical activity like a walk or trip to the park).  Don't bring up potential explosive issues.  Remember that your tolerance level is probably pretty low at this time too (along with the chaos of crabby kids, there is dinner to get ready and who knows what else is calling for your attention!).

If you are worried that by giving your kids a snack, they will spoil their dinner, consider planning for that snack to be part of the dinner.  A little more at snack time and a little less at dinner time might work better than a big dinner served to your famished family later in the evening.

You are not alone if the worst part of your day is the late afternoon and early evening.  You are experiencing that universally known phenomenon called the Arsenic Hour.


  1. An idea about snacks right before dinner. If they are as hungry as they say they are, raw vegetables are great to put out with a healthy dip. Then they can get the vegetables out of the way! :)

    1. That is exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking about! If you can get them to eat veggies for a snack, you don't have to worry about veggies at dinner! Thanks Jeanne!